California law has some of the toughest laws that protect the rights of employees. Fortunately, this includes when you become injured in relation to your job. After all, you should be able to work with some confidence that you will not be hurt or disabled when working. And if you are injured, you should be taken care of.
Under the Labor Code, California employers are required by law to provide worker's compensation for its employees. This mandatory worker's compensation insurance is a "no-fault" system which provides medical and disability benefits for those determined to have suffered a work-related injury.
· First, your employer must provide you with notice. When you start a new job, your employer is responsible for providing materials the clearly explain the your rights and duties, as well as your employer's rights and duties when it comes to worker's compensation insurance and claims. Employers must also display a poster that contains Worker's Compensation contact information.
· Medical expenses. Your employer is responsible for medical expenses related to injury or illness that occurred in connection with your employment. However, as your employer is providing the worker's compensation insurance, your employer holds the right to designate what doctor you see for the first thirty days following your injury. Further, if you employer has a Medical Provider Network, you will be required to receive all covered medical care through in-network medical providers.
· Temporary disability. If you are disabled and unable to work or are hospitalized as a result of your injury or condition, you may be eligible for temporary disability payments. This can be up to 2/3 of your regular weekly pay (average weekly earnings or A.W.E.) but may be further capped based on a pre-determined annual A.W.E. limit. Further, temporary disability can only be paid for a maximum of 2 years, although these payments rarely last this long.
· Permanent disability. If you have become permanently impaired and unable to work due to your injury, you may be entitled to permanent disability payments. These are calculated by a formula based on several factors, such as your occupation, your age, and the percent that a doctor finds you to be disabled. These are compared to a variable index that changes with the average weekly wage and cost of living in California.
· Utilization Review. Unfortunately, receiving worker's compensation is not automatic. In fact, employers can have a designated doctor review your records to determine the nature and severity of your injury, and whether the injury was work related. If this utilization review determines that you are not eligible for worker's compensation benefits, your ultimate recourse may be a lawsuit for fight for your rights.
You Need an Attorney
If you have sustained a work-related injury, you have legal rights. If your employer is not offering your worker's compensation or has denied your claim, you need a lawyer. Employers in California are under a legal obligation to provide worker's compensation insurance coverage and to follow the law. If they are depriving you of your legal rights, call Moss Bollinger to hold them to task. We will make sure that your claim is taken seriously. Contact Moss Bollinger today by phone at 800-249-1175 for a consultation or reach us online.